With Whole Foods, Amazon on collision course with Wal-Mart

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"How quickly items get delivered "is going to have to be improved considerably" for customers to order something online instead of going to the prepared-foods counter at the supermarket, she said". Others say the growing options are intriguing with Amazon buying Whole Foods Market.

"Dominant players like Walmart, Kroger, Costco, and Target now have to look over their shoulders at the Amazon train coming down the tracks", O'Shea said. Many said they had been told by managers not to speak to reporters. Shoppers skip the checkout line, and their Amazon accounts get automatically charged.

Amazon already offers grocery-delivery services in five markets, but the Whole Foods purchase would let it expand to many more.

"I'm excited to see maybe if they do some kind of thing with Prime now and Whole Foods, that would be interesting to me", Hiddeman said.

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The deal sent shockwaves across the food distribution market, as Whole Foods' peers and supermarket chains grappled with the prospect of having to compete with Amazon's massive buying power and ability to sell goods at a lower cost.

The online giant previous year declared its plans to open a physical grocery store called Amazon Go, a market without cashiers where consumers would be automatically charged based on the items they placed into their shopping bags.

- Target. The retailer fell $2.85, or 5.1 percent, to $52.61. The store uses sensors to track items as shoppers put them into baskets or return them to the shelf.

In October, reports surfaced that Amazon was planning to build its own grocery stores.

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SELYUKH: Bernstein is actually a huge fan of both Whole Foods and Amazon.

"It's amusing. I was just ordering something on Amazon", said Nick Yezierski, a hotel manager who was eating breakfast outside the Whole Foods flagship store in Austin, Texas.

Amazon has been dipping its toes in groceries since it launched its Amazon Fresh delivery service a decade ago in Seattle, and expanded it to California, New York, and the Philadelphia area. Earlier this week rumors were swelling that Amazon had its sights on acquiring messaging technology company Slack, turns out it was Whole Foods that would be first. It announced last Friday that it had agreed to buy online clothing company Bonobos for US$310 million. The stock is up more than 31% so far this year. Walmart is very much taking on Amazon and utilising its network to develop ecommerce and click & collect at its thousands of stores. This will help Whole Foods have an online delivery presence. "If there ever was a time crunch, I'd consider it", he said.

Mackey will stay as CEO, and the headquarters will stay in Austin, Texas. In an interview in the Texas Monthly published just two days before the sale was announced, Mackey called Jana "greedy bastards", protesting their plans for a sale and their bully tactics.

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Amazon is already nearly dominating retail - the company's market share of the USA retail sector previous year was estimated at 34 percent, while Walmart came second with 5 percent, according to Needham & Company's research in April.

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